Nursing-Paramedicine student Taylor McLean recently completed a four-week placement supported by Flinders NT, in Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula, in the Northern Territory’s East Arnhem Land.
Taylor likens her arrival in Nhulunbuy to entering a foreign country. “After previously spending a significant amount of time in different parts of the Territory, nothing compares to Nhulunbuy. I knew it was going to be hot and dry, but when you physically enter the location, the red dirt just adds to its obvious remoteness” she says.
“Yet Nhulunbuy has a country town feel with some of the most beautiful beaches you could imagine. It exceeded my expectations with its sense of community involvement and togetherness which I found wholesome and welcoming, allowing for the social side of my placement to gel”, she says.
The health care providers Taylor worked with included Gove District Hospital (GDH), Miwatj Health, Laynhapuy Homelands and Care Flight, providing her with experience in a wide range of disciplines and aspects of Top End remote health care. Her clinical activities ranged from immunisations, theatre work, assisting in a birth, paediatric care, flight medic care and many more opportunities. “I gained a lot of intra-clinic based learning and skills, which were extremely beneficial for me as a student and future paramedic, and working with the community clinics showed me a vital part of remote health care”, she explains.
Reflecting on her placement Taylor adds,
“One of the highlights of my placement was the time I spent in Ward 2 at GDH, with all the expectant mothers, where I met a beautiful mother who invited me to assist in the birth of her child. This experience will stay with me for life and something I will never forget.
“Spending time in Homelands and community outlined some devastating realities of Aboriginal health in Australia, but the positivity that is projected from people who have next to nothing was an uplifting feeling.
“Being invited into homes and to experience traditional business such as hunting, cooking, weaving and caring for babies was something I had not experienced previously, so to connect as an Aboriginal person myself, was enlightening and spiritual.
“This placement allowed me to grow and mature not only as a student paramedic but also as a person. The lessons and experiences I gained from every single person I met were overwhelming yet rewarding.
“After almost five weeks in Nhulunbuy, the day that I left was a bittersweet one. As much as I missed my own family and friends, it was hard to leave a place so special and spiritual. I had made so many new friends and even family.
“As I journeyed home, with today’s technology on planes I was already Googling positions for paramedics or health workers in the top end. You could almost say the Territory is addictive, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will be back”.